Rafter Talks Retirement, Media, & Lleyton
Rafter mulls retirement from professional game
By Greg Buckle
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia's twice U.S. Open champion Pat Rafter has said that he is tempted to retire from the professional game. The 29-year-old, who is currently taking a year-long break and recently became a father for the first time, said he was enjoying his time away from competition.
"It's hard to say at this stage. I'm leaning towards not (playing)," Rafter told Australia television. "I will make a decision probably in the next couple of months."
Asked if he felt frustrated while watching the action from the 2002 U.S. Open on television, Rafter added: "The U.S. Open's a great tournament but I've been there and I've done it and I feel like I don't have to do that again."
Rafter, a runner-up at Wimbledon in 2000 to Pete Sampras and last year to Goran Ivanisevic, said his biggest career disappointment was Australia's 2001 Davis Cup final loss to France in Melbourne.
"Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. That's the one that really hurts," added the 2001 Australian of the Year.
Rafter said compatriot Lleyton Hewitt's self-belief would be crucial to the defence of his U.S. Open title. World number one Hewitt, who is also the Wimbledon champion, has won through to the third round in New York.
"Once he gets into the tournament, I think he'll start believing that he can actually do it again," said Rafter, who won the tournament in 1997 and 1998. He is still the form player to beat," added the former world number one.
Asked about his warm relationship with the media -- in contrast to the 21-year-old Hewitt's more aggressive attitude -- Rafter said he had taken the advice of former Australia Davis Cup captain John Newcombe to find time for reporters.
"He (Newcombe) said you've got to get the media on your side. They've always been very positive and they appreciated that I had given them positive feedback," Rafter said. "It would be great to see Lleyton maybe have a good (media) relationship but he's got to do what he's got to do and he's his own man."
Tipsarevic. Nadal. Gasquet.
Sprem. Lisicki. Ivanovic.